GE announced today at POWER-GEN that after completing a seven-week journey by land and sea, GE’s first Frame 7H gas turbine is now being installed at the Inland Empire Energy Center in Southern California.
The 696,000-pound machine arrived at the project site in Romoland, near Riverside, Calif. on November 9. After several days of site preparations, the gas turbine was placed on its foundation. A second 7H is scheduled for delivery to the Inland Empire Energy Center in early 2007.
Operating on natural gas, the two GE 107H combined-cycle units will produce enough power to meet the needs of nearly 600,000 homes. The new power plant is expected to begin commercial operation by the summer of 2008, in time to help offset state-forecasted energy shortfalls in Southern California.
The first 7H left GE’s Greenville, S.C. gas turbine manufacturing facility on September 15 and was moved to the port of Charleston, S.C. where it began a voyage through the Panama Canal to Long Beach, Calif. The last segment of the journey was a one-week road trip to the project site.
The 7H is the 60-hertz version of GE’s H System, the world’s first combined-cycle technology designed with the capability to reach 60 percent thermal efficiency. The high efficiency of the H System means less fuel is used, resulting in fewer emissions for each megawatt of electricity produced.
“As the global launch site for our 60-hertz H System, Inland Empire is a major technology milestone for GE and for the power industry,” said John Reinker, General Manager of Gas Turbine and Combined-Cycle Products for GE Energy. “We are confident this plant will serve as a showcase for advanced combined-cycle technology worldwide.”
GE will finance and own the Inland Empire Energy Center, while Calpine Power Services will manage plant construction, and Calpine Energy Services will market the plant’s output and manage fuel requirements under a long-term marketing arrangement with GE. Following an extended period of GE ownership, Calpine expects to purchase the plant and become its sole owner and operator, with GE continuing to provide critical plant maintenance services under a long-term agreement with Calpine.
The first two applications of GE’s H System are both 50-hertz projects: the Baglan Bay Power Station in Port Talbot, South Wales, where the world’s first 9H began operation in 2003 and has surpassed 18,000 fired hours; and Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Futtsu Thermal Power Station Group 4, which will feature three 9H gas turbines. The first unit for Futtsu was shipped in June 2006.
GE’s H System features a steam cooling system that enables the higher firing temperatures required for increased efficiency. In addition, GE engineers designed the H turbines’ first-stage buckets and nozzles with single-crystal materials to withstand higher temperatures over a long service life.